WAITE PARK -- An historic piece in shaping the city of Waite Park has been unexpectedly torn down.

The old Wood Shop Plant 6 building behind the STARail museum along 3rd Street has been demolished.

The plant was built in 1890 by James J. Hill and was used by the Great Northern Railroad as a rail car manufacturing plant for almost 100 years.

Waite Park Mayor Rick Miller says it's sad to see such an import piece of history go.

"I think it's a shame. I know some other cities have been able to salvage some of those buildings and I'm not sure if they are working with other railroads. I know the BNSF isn't the easiest company to work with and it's too bad."

Miller says the city has been working with the STARail group to try and have BNSF donate or sell the building to them so they could renovate it and potentially turn it into a museum.

He says they knew it was being looked at to be demolished however they didn't know it would become reality until they saw contractors and machines on the site.

"I drove by there like everyone else, saw some equipment down there and now all of a sudden it's gone."

The former woodshop has been vacant since 1986 and was in poor condition. Miller says it's possible the building was in such bad shape the railroad had no choice but to tear it down.

More From AM 1240 WJON